Crimean Tatars lament their plight as Ukraine hosts the summit

Kiev – Erfan Kudusov fled Crimean with his wife and four children, along with many other Crimean Tatars resentful of Moscow’s rule after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Black Sea Peninsula in 2014.

For Crimean Tatars and others, the Russian takeover evokes memories of the tragic family of the 1944 mass transfer of the Crimean Tatars at the behest of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, creating fears of discrimination and persecution. I did.

Their fears materialized.

Several Kudusov friends who stayed in Crimea were subsequently convicted of extremism, separatism, and membership in a banned organization, and sentenced to eight to nineteen years in prison.

The fate of the Crimean Tatars is of paramount importance at Monday’s first meeting of the Crimean Platform, an international summit called by Ukraine to put pressure on Russia over annexations that have been accused of being illegal in most parts of the world. It is one.


“My fear of children and memories of oppression against my people forced us to pack everything in two suitcases and leave our beloved Yalta in literally one day,” Kudusov said. He told the Associated Press at his small restaurant in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. .. “Most of the people who left were well-educated and energetic people who actively opposed the occupation of Crimea.”

Only the covers of their Quran’s ancestors, some paintings of the rocky landscapes of Crimea, and some pottery now remind Kudusov of his hometown. Letters from prisons and chats with relatives on messaging apps portray the harsh picture of the life of the Crimean Tatars, who are now under Russian control.

“Russia is forcing concentration camps behind a nice façade,” Kudusov said. “The people of Crimea are very scared and afraid to speak aloud about it.”

In August 2018, Vatan Karbash protested the authorities’ move to destroy the Crimean Tatars’ homes by burning in Simferopol, the local capital of Crimea. He survived a severe burn.


Ethnic Russians, who make up the majority of 2.3 million people in Crimea, widely supported the annexation of Russia, while Crimean Tatars, who make up nearly 15%, opposed the takeover of Moscow. Since 2014, an estimated 30,000 Crimean Tatars have fled Crimea.

Some of the people who stayed faced a relentless crackdown by Russian authorities banning major Crimean Tatars representatives and some religious groups. About 80 Crimean Tatars have been convicted and 15 activists are missing, according to Amnesty International.

“The Russian Federation continues its policy of intimidation, systematic pressure and criminal prosecution against Crimean Tatars who disagree with the occupation or refuse to cooperate with de facto authorities,” said Katerina, a member of the rights group.・ Mitieva said. “Crimean Tatars activist homes are systematically searched by the FSB (Federal Security Service of Russia).”


Last week alone, four Crimean Tatars were sentenced to 12 to 18 years in prison for partnering with Hizb Tatars, an international Islamist group that Russia outlawed as a terrorist organization in 2003. I did. Banned in most Arab countries, China, Turkey and Germany.

“Russia has brought a unique view of imperialism, fear and freedom, and an understanding of who is a friend and who is an enemy,” said Mufti Eider Rustamov at the frequent Kiev mosques of the Crimean Tatars. Said.

Moscow has strongly rejected charges of discrimination against the Crimean Tatars. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pointed out the construction of a new mosque in Crimean, the allocation of 100,000 parcels to the Crimean Tatars, and the expansion of support for Crimean Tatars’ cultural and educational projects.

At the same time, Russian authorities have accused Crimean Tatars of protesting the annexation in the interests of Ukraine, and Russian law has punished those seeking the return of Crimean to Ukraine.


Refat Chubarov, leader of the Crimean Tatars Mediris, the representative body of the ethnic group, was absent from a Russian court in June for six years in protest of the 2014 merger, alleging that it caused a large-scale mayhem. Was sentenced to.

“Moscow continues to oppress the Crimean Tatars, and all these crackdowns, including arrests and long sentences, restrain people’s will and force them to leave Crimean for fear of their children’s future. Is aimed at, “said Chubarov. A person who was forced to leave the Black Sea Peninsula in 2014.

Chubarov accused Moscow of encouraging people from other regions to move to Crimea, with more than 500,000 Russians settling in Crimea since the annexation.

“In front of us, the Russian authorities have artificially changed the ethnic composition of Crimea,” he said.

In 2016, Russian authorities outlawed Mejlis as an extremist organization. In 2017, an international court called on Russia to abolish the decision, but ignored the decision.


“Moscow completely ignores all decisions, calls, recommendations and judgments of international organizations and courts,” said Chubarov.

Ukraine has established the Crimean Platform to attract international attention to the plight of Crimea. It held its first meeting in Kiev on Monday, bringing together top executives from 44 countries and blocks, including the United States, the European Union and Turkey.

“(This is) a continuous dialogue platform aimed at strengthening international and Ukrainian efforts to occupy the Crimean Peninsula,” Ukraine’s first Foreign Minister Emine Japarova told AP.

Ukrainian officials say a large-scale construction project launched by Russia in Crimea aims to militarize the peninsula.

“Crimea is a military base that holds Ukrainian citizens hostage,” said Dzhaparova.

“Being a Crimean Tatar means keeping a genetic memory of the pain that my people are suffering from,” said Susana Jamala Dinova, a singer who won the 2016 Eurovision Contest under the stage name Jamala. Said in a cruel song mourning the 1944 Soviet deportation.


“Ethnocide is underway in Crimean. A memorial rally for the Crimean Tatars is also banned,” said a 37-year-old singer born in Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia.

In May 1944, about 200,000 Crimean Tatars, who make up about one-third of the Crimean population, were transferred by Stalin to the 3,200 km (2,000 miles) eastern grasslands of Central Asia. Soviet dictators have accused them of working with the Nazis — claims widely dismissed as fake by historians. An estimated half of them died in the next 18 months of starvation and harsh conditions.

Other ethnic groups faced with similar mass deportations at Stalin’s orders were allowed to return to their hometown shortly after the death of the Soviet dictator in 1953, while the Crimean Tatars were allowed to return to their hometowns after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. I was not allowed to go back to the last minute.

According to Kudusov, his father was two years old during the Stalinist deportation, and his own twins were the age when he and his family fled Crimea in 2014.


“It looks scary and surreal,” he said. “But my family’s experience shows that the Crimean Tatars are always returning to Crimean.”


Vladimir Isachenkov of Moscow contributed to this report.

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Crimean Tatars lament their plight as Ukraine hosts the summit

Source link Crimean Tatars lament their plight as Ukraine hosts the summit

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